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Speak Softly And Carry A Big Kick

I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I’m going to keep on saying it until the day I die. My favorite part of training in the Martial Arts is meeting the wonderful, high class people. Some of whom have become good friends of mine. Khuen Khru/Coach Alvin Chan out of Baltimore Maryland is one of them.

I first met Khru Alvin a number of years ago at the Pacific Northwest Muay Thai Camp. Later I would also see him at the CSW Fighter/Instructor Camp in CA each year. Alvin is a quiet and humble instructor but he really made an impression on me.

At the Thai Camp, we’d always start the mornings off with a 2 or 3 mile run at 6:30 am. Sometimes, by the third day, your legs would be so stiff it would take a good half hour just to stand up straight. Running or even moving for that matter seemed like a stretch of the imagination. At times like that, it was easy to slip into a fog, to just go through the motions and get the run and other exercises out of the way.

Khru Alvin, always made it out in front of me during the runs. He’d turn the corner and make the return trip to camp, but every time, without fail, he would look up from his concentrated gaze to give me a smile and slap fives as we passed during our shared journey of pain.

This always seemed to snap me out of my fatigue induced stupor and remind me that I chose to be wherever I was. I was among friends and we were bound together by a unique experience and the shedding of blood, sweat and tears. And then the world would open up. I would breath deeper, I would begin to smell the fresh mountain air, the semi-sweet tones of pine needles and ferns lacing it with their fragrance. I would remember what a wonderful opportunity I had to train with such incredible people in such an amazing an beautiful place.

Khuen Khru Alvin and I shooting for Damage Conrol MMA

Khuen Khru Alvin and I shooting for Damage Conrol MMA

Later, he would do the same for me on the runs on the sunny streets of California. More running, more fatigue, the same Khru Alvin, ahead of me on the runs, slapping fives, sharing a laugh, a tip, a technique. He would be there for me when I needed him most, right after being chewn up an spat out by the 185 lb. professional fighters, a familiar face in the room, a training partner and friend, a roll of refuge where I could let my guard down and just enjoy the roll.

He is such a great instructor and an inspiration to me. Quietly but tenaciously pursuing the secrets of the Martial Arts, wherever they may hide. I have found them in him. And here are a precious few. The Shin Across Defense to the Prumb, as well as the Elbow and Power Knee set ups from that position. Not a “Kick” per se but “Big” and well… you get the picture.

Thank you for everything Khuen Khru Alvin!

Erik Paulson’s Short Shots

I’m the nerd’s nerd when it comes to MMA and Martial Arts Techniques in general. They are like comic books or fine wines to me. There are mass produced beauties that everyone has access to and can enjoy and then there’s those very rare and hard to find gems. Sometimes they are even more effective and brutal than the average technique (like the shin locks which are completely game changing, they have the ability to take butterfly and open guard away from your oppoent… WOW).

It might be argued that their rarity contributes to their effectiveness. But either way, I collect them. And this, in my opinion, is one of those rare, though perhaps more esoteric ones, Erik Paulson’s “Short Shots”. It’s a personal favorite of mine. It’s so out of the ordinary as far as MMA techniques go. And the way I first learned about them (through Erik Paulson’s gym tour vid) makes them even more endearing to me.

That being said, I heard Ajarn Greg Nelson comment how useful it is to have one more option here, one more little tweak there that can allow you to capitalize from an otherwise neutral position (I think it was on his MMA Workshop DVDs). And the “Short Shots” have done exactly that from the MMA Clinch. When other people are just locking up and establishing neck ties and underhooks, I am jarring their systems with “Short Shots” en route to my neck tie/Prumb etc.

Check it out, Erik Paulson’s “Short Shots”!

Also from CSW Instructors Greg Nelson and Erik Paulson: